tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC October 31, 2013 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT
our shared history. this isn't just african-american history. this is american history. >> john ridley, dust off the tuxedo. you're going to be very busy during awards season. this is just a fantastic piece of work. i am good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. and i'm dressed this halloween as steve kornacki. we've got lots of politics tonight, starting at the white house, where you might have noticed, it's been something of a rough couple of weeks for the president. with the rocky rollout of his signature health reform law dominating the news, the political toll is real and it is getting worse. and nowhere is the damage more apparent than in the latest polling from nbc news, where president obama's approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 42%. that is a five-point drop from just earlier this month.
these numbers, as bad as they are, don't necessarily exist in a vacuum. there's a lot more complexity to the current political environment, which in many ways is the story of american politics in the tea party era. >> let's talk about the president. >> between syria, between the shutdown, between obama care, how are his approval numbers stacking up? >> record lows. >> the president's approval rating dropped five points. >> at an all-time low. >> is this more than just the second-term curse? >> if he goes below where he is right now, he's going to be in george bush territory and that's hard to come back from. >> the latest nbc news poll does, indeed, find that the president's approval rating is at a five-year low, and it is true that his popularity rating is hovering where george bush's was five years into his presidency. but there's an important distinction about where their presidency and where their parties are at. in november of 2005, with president bush licking his wounds from the spiral iraq war,
the devastation from katrina war, the embarrassment of the harriet miers supreme court nomination, bush saw virginia as a place where he could sweep in, score a victory, improve, and still bring home a swing state. >> virginia's republican candidate for governor, jerry kilgore is about to make last-minute gamble. he'll be joined by president bush. but it's a high-risk strategy, because with the president's popularity at an all-time low, his appearance could have the opposite effect. >> if the democrats were to win in this republican-leaning southern state, that would indicate that the difficulties of the bush administration and of the republican party are having real implications throughout the country. >> reporter: as "the washington post" wrote on election day 2005, the president's advisers last week opted to rearrange yesterday's return, to include a stop in the virginia capital in the hope of helping kilgore pull
out a victory. it would offer a well-timed vindication of bush's clout. if kilgore wins, the president's political heart keeps beating. >> ladies and gentlemen, theth president of the united states, george w. bush. >> i appreciate you coming out here to the airport. we were just flying in from latin america. when you find a man who's got this kind of character, it makes sense to stop short of the destination and come in and say to the people in this state, put him in office and he'll be proud of the job he'll do for you. >> but in the end, kilgore was trounced. >> this showed that the president's policies in red states are drawing extreme concern. >> republicans eyeing next year's midterm elections are nervous. unlike 2002, when the president was a top draw for congressional candidates, now mr. bush's troubles have left republicans looking for distance.
>> reporter: and republicans had reason to be nervous. in the next two election cycles in 2006 and 2008, democrats swept to power, first taking the house and then the whole shebang. and eight years later, it is now obama who heads to virginia with his lowest approval ratings yet, campaigning for terry mcauliffe, the race that the republicans were supposed to win. it's an off year election, it's in a state that has for four decades voted against the party occupying the white house in gubernatorial elections. it's a state where terry mcauliffe was crushed in the democratic primary just four years ago. this year, barring a major upset, mcauliffe is going to win. and the difference here is the tea party, which is now faring far worse than president obama. in that same poll that has obama's numbers falling, the tea party's favorable rating has crashed to 14%. the reason a top democrat is winning in a premiere swing state in the country is this guy -- >> i was the first attorney general in the country to sue to
stop the implementation of the notorious federal health care law. >> ken cuccinelli the personification of the tea party. the polls say he is going to lose. his demise in virginia could be a sign of things to come. >> all right, joining me now is congressman gerry connolly, a democrat from virginia. congressman, thank you for taking some time tonight. i want to get to that election in virginia and what it says about where the country is and where the country is going, it's only five days away. but first i want to start at the basic issue of the poll numbers for the president today, which made so much news today. you heard that repetition in the package we just played there. george bush territory, the idea that here in his fifth year as president, president obama now falling to a level about where george w. bush was at this point in his fifth year. what do you make of the numbers you're seeing for the president right now, just as a democrat, as a member of his party, what do you attribute it to and are
you worried about it? >> you know, i think every president has a rough patch. i'm old enough to remember ronald reagan, in the toilet, several times during his presidency. bill clinton had his rough patches, god knows it. so these things go up and down. the question is trend and the question is whether it's sustained. i think that if the -- for example, the glitches in the website for the affordable care act can be ironed out, i think the president is going to rebound. so i don't read too much into it just yet. these polls go up and down. >> so we talked about virginia a lot there. and just to really set the stage for this, we are talking about a state here, as we said in that package, you have to go all the way back to 1973, in your home state of virginia, to find an election where the party that controls the white house actually won the governor's race. it always takes place the year
after the presidential election. this is an off year election here in virginia. we've been talking for the last year about how the turnout patterns favor republicans in off year elections. what do you think it says? if terry mcauliffe, if the polls are right and terry mcauliffe wins this thing, what do you think that says about national politics? what message can we take nationally from a democrat winning in virginia under these circumstances? >> i think it says a lot. virginia, first of all, is a very competitive state. we don't like extremism. from the right or the left. and we like our politics pretty much in the center. the republicans nominated one of the most extreme tickets in the history of the commonwealth of virginia. and by way of contrast, the democrats have nominated three generally pragmatic people. and i think added to that, there was so many issues, ken cuccinelli and mark obenshain are identified with in terms of the war on women, the famous transvaginal probe legislation, even opposing things like bipartisan transportation legislation. they went into this fall with a deficit, and then occurred the shutdown. and the shutdown has really turned off virginia voters.
they see that as a dysfunctional congress, they see it as an example of that extremism. they don't like it. many of us were affected by it, because virginia is very much tied to the federal government in terms of investment defense spending and technology investment. and i think the republicans are going to pay a very heavy price for that next tuesday. >> you know, we have -- you talk about sort of the gender gap there. you have the latest poll, "washington post"/abc news has mcauliffe winning by 24 points among women. i think back to four years ago, mcauliffe, his national reputation, he was a bungler. sort of a d.c. big pun guy. he ran four years ago in virginia, got trounced in the democratic primary. you know, i hear there's a writer for "new york" magazine who said at the start of this campaign this year that terry mcauliffe is the democrat that democrats have been dreaming of voting against. i just look at this race, congressman, in all honesty, do you think there's anything terry mcauliffe has done to win this thing other than just not be ken cuccinelli? >> i think terry has run a very disciplined campaign. i think he's addressed issues in a very forthright way.
you know, some of them very progressive positions on gun issues, for example. certainly on women's issues, he's spoken very clearly and very explicitly about what he won't do when he's governor of the commonwealth of virginia. so i think terry deserves a lot of credit for having run a very disciplined campaign, both in message and in organization. i think he learned the from his misstep four years ago and that's what you want to see in a politician. you want to see the capacity to grow. terry has shown a lot of capacity to grow in these last four years. >> all right. congressman gerry connolly from virginia, thanks for joining me. joining me now, josh barrow with business insider. i want to pick up a point that the congressman just made. he's talking about the message discipline of terry mcauliffe. this was terry mcauliffe talking about the tea party and his opposition this week. >> we are proud to be democrats, folks. >> but we are also proud that we are in the mainstream of virginia. the tea party is going to spend their time trying to make this election about personal attacks
on me instead of policy differences. they know that this election, if it is about the issues that matter to virginians, they can't win. >> so what strikes me about that is traditionally you look at virginia as a state for democrats to win in virginia. the model we're all sort of used to, you've got to get the gun guys, got to be culturally conservative, show them you're tough on death penalty, tim kaine went through this whole thing in 2005. and the message of the mcauliffe campaign has really been, no, it's ken cuccinelli who's out of step, he's too conservative, especially on these cultural issues, and it seems to me that reflects more of a national tipping the point on cultural issues. >> i think there's that and i think virginia is an increasingly suburban state. and those rural areas are less
important than they used to be. and i think ken cuccinelli has read as so culturally alien to those suburban areas around washington, d.c. that all mcauliffe had to do was be a warm body that those people didn't hate and he could win the election. and i think that's especially interesting, because cuccinelli isn't actually that much more conservative than bob mcdonnell, who won pretty soundly four years ago. he's become unpopular because of some influence peddling scandals, but that's not really related to his social conservatism, but mcdonnell seems like this suburban, business-oriented conservative when you see him on television and you're another modern voter, he doesn't look like a fire breather, where cuccinelli comes off as a bible thumper, and that has made him very unappealing. >> how much of that is the difference in the climate between four years ago and today?
four years ago, the democrats had just taken over the white house, big majorities in the senate, big majorities in the house, they controlled everything. and the republican party to voters back then existed only as a protest vehicle. whatever it was, you're going to vote for the republican. today, my read on this is, voters are sort of pausing and considering, well, maybe we don't like the democrats. maybe we're not nuts about obama right now, was we've seen three years of republicans controlling the house, the tea party controlling the republican party, and voters are maybe looking at this as more of an equal choice among the two parties. and all things being equal, we're more uncomfortable with the tea party. >> i think it's especially true in virginia, where you have so many federal workers. i think the shutdown did terrible things to the republican brand nationally. that same nbc poll that shows the president at 42% has positive views of the republican party at 22%, which is also the lowest number in the history of that poll. but i think you're going to see something on the order of a 25-point swing, the election results four years ago in virginia, where bob mcdonnell won very soundly and where ken cuccinelli is going to win very
soundly this time. you can ascribe part of that to national trends and this being a much better year for democrats than 2009 was. but part of it is this perfect storm where ken cuccinelli has a social issue problem, a scandal problem, he's alienated various northern virginia businesspeople with his opposition to a transportation bill and certain other things that make them see him as not pro-business enough. and finally, you have the problem with the government shutdown, really focusing national issues in virginia in a way that is favorable to the democratic party. that perfect storm is the reason that terry mcauliffe is going to win this. >> but i want to ask, in terms of lessons that the republican party might take from this afterwards, i have talked to a number of virginia republicans this year, and we forget, the other part of this ticket is ken cuccinelli and this guy, e.w. jackson, the lieutenant governor candidate, who makes cuccinelli look almost like a moderate, he's so far out there in the things he's said. but there were republicans talking at that state convention this year where they nominated cuccinelli and jackson, moderate republicans who sort of said, look, the tea party guys have totally taken over this party. we want to give them the most far-right field of candidates they can possibly put after them, and come back after november and say, you got what you wanted, you got the tea party dream team, you lost, see,
i told you so, the party needs to moderate. do you think anyone in the republican party will get that message out of this result? >> i think the republican party has been very good at resisting those sorts of messages. certainly, that is the message they should take from this. and they should take for one thing that they shouldn't nominate candidates at conventions. conventions are designed to produce extreme candidates that are desirable to the sorts of extremists who attend party conventions. but i think if you look at the results in the 2012 election, you had conservatives ahead of it saying, oh, the polls are skewed, mitt romney's going to win. the results should have been a rude awakening, and they sort of were for about two months, and then after that, the party just retreated back into the same bubble that it was in before, where it rejects any news it finds unfavorable. so i think, yes, virginia republicans should listen to people like tom davis, who's a moderate former congressman from the washington, d.c., area, who are telling them they have to change or die. but i think it will probably
take a few more really negative election cycles before they actually do -- >> if you want an excuse, you can always find an excuse. i know that lesson from my own life. josh barrow from businessinsider.com, thanks for joining us. coming up -- >> there's been perception that you've had trouble mobilizing the troops behind you. 50 elected democratic officials endorsing the governor. can you tell some of the people out there who may wonder if you can't lead your own party, how will you lead this state? >> how long do i have? >> you have a minute. >> that was new jersey governor chris christie opponent, barbara buono, why the democratic party is on board with the republican governor. that's ahead. avo: the volkswagen "sign then drive"
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here's a scary story for democrats on this halloween night. it's the tale of how their own party created its own worst nightmare. the republican who has the best chance, by far, of beating them in the 2016 presidential election. the most frightening part for democrats is, they can't seem to stop helping him. the republican is, if you haven't guessed by now, new jersey governor chris christie, who is up for re-election this coming tuesday. this is a race you might expect the democrats to at least fight for. president obama won new jersey by 17 points last year. it is the sixth straight presidential election that the state went blue, so it's a very democratic state. unlike virginia, where voters will also elect a governor next week, you haven't seen high-profile national democrats campaigning for the democratic candidate in new jersey. her name is barbara buono. you may not have even heard of
buono. that may seem a little odd until you consider that it's actually the latest chapter in what amounts to a year's long saga of democrats helping chris christie. go back to 2000. that's when the former goldman sachs ceo john corazon spent $63 million in a successful effort to win a seat as a democrat. three years later, jim mcgreevey resigned amid revelations of an affair, gruesome poll numbers, and the possibility of a federal indictment. when dick cody assumed the governorship when mcgreevey resigned, but didn't have corzine's deep pockets. instead of backing cody in 2005, new jersey's democrats pretty much let themselves get bought off by corzine. they gave minimum the nomination and he won the election, but corzine was a terrible match for the office and quickly grew unpopular with the public, with the legislature, and even with his own party. and by the time a little-known republican named chris christie ran for governor in 2009, the public was itching to vote out the incumbent and they did. democrats didn't think they could lose in new jersey back in those days.
they thought they could nominate anyone for any office and it wouldn't matter. it was a blue state, after all, it was going to vote democrat. but with corzine they got greedy and it pushed their luck and they gave christie the governorship. in new jersey, democrats have done little to stop him since then. in june, the democratic-controlled state legislature essentially rubber stamped christie's budget. buono objected the to christie's handling of health care and education, many democrats simply ignored her. and they haven't continued to ignore their gubernatorial nominee. it's true that democrats were probably not ever going to win this race. christie is simply too popular, thanks in part to his definite handling of hurricane sandy last year. democrats could have prevented christie from the sort of massive victory that he could use as a springboard for a 2016 presidential run. christie's campaign has not even tried to disguise that they want to run up the margins in this race so they can tell every republican who will listen that the state who re-elected barack obama by 17 points turned around
the next year and backed chris christie by an even bigger margin. democrats could have denied him that. they could have worked to keep buono close, to keep christie from gaining momentum, from a massive victory in a blue state. instead, christie has built a 33-point lead without putting up any real fight on the democratic side. and that could come back to haunt them once 2016 rolls around. joining me now is e.j. dionne, a "washington post" columnist and author of "our divided political heart: the battle for the american idea in an age of discontent." e.j., thanks for joining us tonight. i appreciate it. and i'm just sort of thinking back through history. you know, a couple years out before a presidential election, i guess there's sort of a tradition of one party who can usually identify who they think the biggest threat is on the other side. and i know the devious nixon white house had its list in the 1970 midterms. i remember the late lee at water in 1990, looking at the midterm election in arkansas and saying, we might want to do something
about this guy, bill clinton, because he could be a threat to the republicans in 1992. and it is staring democrats in the face. chris christie is a threat in 2016, and it really is amazing, president obama in virginia, vice president -- former president clinton in virginia, and just nothing in virginia to try to at least keep christie's margins down. >> right. the late lee atwater was a very shrewd guy, because a lot of republicans underestimated bill clinton, including for a long time, president bush. but i think the best metaphor right now for what christie is doing is george w. bush, who ran up enormous margins in the texas governor's race in 1998. he did particularly well with latinos and got a lot of republican votes and then turned around and sold that to the party. he was the favorite going in, in a way that chris christie is not. but it was of enormous benefit to him in the year 2000. and it helped him look more moderate than he actually was. and i think chris christie can do exactly the same thing here. chris, he's actually a very conservative guy. and i think you're going to see that much more after this election is over. when he is seeking the
republican presidential nomination, assuming that he does, he's going to play out how conservative he is. he's going to emphasize that side to him. i think the problem the democrats had is, he was really helpful to barack obama in the last election. when he said those nice things about president obama's handling of hurricane sandy, that was a boost to obama at the end of that campaign. and i think that kept some democrats from really coming in for buono, who is actually not a bad candidate, and could have done better than she's going to do. >> well, you know, i used to cover new jersey, so when people sort of ask me about, they look closely at chris christie and what he's accomplished as governor. he's done this with a democratic legislature, and he's pushed, in some cases, some very conservative legislation, especially on pensions and public employees. and i say, it is understandable when you look at new jersey, because there's this plit in the democratic party, there are old bosses in the republican party and christie has sort of cultivated them and won over their supporters and the legislatures.
i see what's happened inside new jersey, but you talk about sandy and how democrats sort of appreciated christie's standing with the president in the wake of that last year. do you think from the white house's standpoint that that is what has kept them from being more involved in this, gratitude over, a week from the election last year, this guy stood up for us and vouched for nus a big way. >> no one has ever told me that, but i'm about 99.99% sure that's true. because those were great pictures for president obama at the end of the campaign and they infuriated republicans and mitt romney. and i think that's the one thing, sort of, that counters what we've been saying, which is, christie's advantage in this election, given where the republican party is, could be his big problem in the primaries. because there's nothing that hurts you more in the republican party these days than embracing barack obama. and so that's still going to be held against christie when he runs -- if he runs -- for the republican nomination. so maybe they're shrewder than we know.
but i think in conventional terms, they would have been better off to try to hold his margin down. >> yeah, that bind there you talk about is kind of interesting, because, sure, they want -- from the christie standpoint, they want to get the margin up as high as possible. but, hey, if barack obama happened to come into the state and trash chris christie and say, vote for the democrat, that might help chris christie. that's the bind that chris christie is in. e.j. dionne, thanks for joining us. you'd probably rather be talking about the red sox. >> we should welcome some viewers back to the show. >> thank you, e.j. dionne for joining us. why the red state of georgia could help democrats coming up in 2014. that's coming up. i'm a careful investor.
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in the battle to hold on to their senate majority next year, salvation for democrats might come from a very unlikely place, the red state of georgia. to understand why, let's back up to 2008, which was, to put it mildly, a very first handily election cycle for democrats. barack obama was elected with the largest share of the popular vote since any candidate since lbj in 1964. and that sweeping wind came with some serious coattails. big gains for his party in congress, 21 seats in the house, 8 in the senate. 2008 was by any measure, a real wave election. but in 2014, six years later, all of those senate seats that were on the ballot in 2008 will be up again. because 2008 was such a good year for democrats, a year when
the national tide carried altd of democrats running in republican-friendly states, it means there will be a number of vulnerable democratic seats up next year. so democrats will be on the defensive. right now, they have a 55-45 majority in the senate, but seven democratic seats that will be up next year are in states that mitt romney carried last fall. and the more of those they lose, the better the gop's chances of taking back the chamber. there is a twist, those. there are actually two states on the map where republicans are on the defensive. two republican seats that democrats could pick up. they're kentucky and georgia. when either of those in the and the math will change on the spot. it would then be virtually impossible for republicans to take over the senate next year. and of those two states. georgia, there's an open race to replace saxby chapel bliss, a republican who's retiring next year, georgia is the one where there's new today. with bloomberg reporting that a number of elite republican donors, donors who poured tens of thousands of dollars sboop mitt romney's campaign last year, are spurning the gop and
lining up behind the democratic candidate. this has to do with what's happening on the republican side, where at least half a dozen republicans are vying is for the gop nomination, including congressman paul brown and congressman phil beginning rhee. brown the the quintessential tea party congressman and gingrey tried the to get to his right by taking to the house floor a few months ago to talk about the need to teach traditional gender roles in schools. there are three republican congressmen in this race in total and each one of them, all three of them, voted against reopening the government two weeks ago. you just can't be too conservative in a republican primary, it could have serious general election implications here, serious national implications as we watch this case unfold in georgia. a strong democratic candidate pitted against a really far-right republican candidate could make that seat a potential democratic pickup, especially when you consider the steady shift we've seen right now as georgia becomes less old and less white. a democrat in the race is
michelle nunn, daughter of sam nunn, one of those backing nunn told bloomberg, the vast majority of americans say they don't want the government to shut down, they want middle ground. this is the dynamic that could reshape democratic politics in georgia and provide democrats a firewall. joining me now is goldie taylor. thanks for joining us tonight. and you are a resident georgia expert tonight, coming to us from georgia. and i just wondered if you could talk a little bit about what is going on in the state. we see this story today about republican donors moving the to the democratic candidate down there. where is this coming from and how serious is this republican split that we're suggesting? >> first, i'll tell you where it's coming from. michelle nunn founded a organization called hands-on atlanta. it was built on volunteerism and they did a lot of partnerships with ceos around the state of georgia in terms of their community outreach and, you know, sort of investing in communities that they served. so she has a lot of one-to-one relationships with the georgia chamber of commerce, the atlanta
chamber of commerce, and some of the more conservative establishment business leaders in the state. so that's where the money is really coming from. a candidate asked me more than a decade ago who's running for georgia senate, can i win this seat, he happened to be a democrat, and i said everything, everything has to go your way. and of course, everything doesn't and he lost that race. the same is true for michelle nunn. a few things have to go her way and she's got a few in her favor. number one, she has an unlimited supply of money coming her way, both from democrats and from republicans. harry reid is focused on this seat like no other. the second thing is, that grassroots organization that barack obama built in 2008 and delivered on in 2010, 2012, they are moving through all 159 counties, building a statewide organization in her favor. so that's happening at the grassroots. and the last thing is, she's not exactly a liberal. and she's not exactly a conservative. she truly is a centrist. while she is not her father's brand of what we call a sam nunn democrat down here, she's her own woman and agrees with the
president on many things and disagrees on some others. but she won't be able to be tied to what we call the yankee liberal down here in georgia. she is, as i said, really her own woman. >> and sam nunn, a conservative democrat, four terms in the senate, we talked about. he was always rumored to run for president. but i was wondering if you could pick up that point a little bit. i imagine democrats thinking about this story, and part of them probably says, this is great news. look at this, big split in the republican party, big money coming into the democratic candidate, a race we didn't necessarily think we could win a few months ago, now maybe we can win it. but at the same time, these democrats were in office from red states, sort of these blue dog type democrats, joe manchin in west virginia, they drive democrats crazy. you're saying michelle nun seems to be somewhere in between, but what kind of senator would she be? would she drive democrats crazy and what issues would she drive them crazy on? >> you know, all of her politics have yet to emerge, but she
seems to be more like a sanford bishop brand of democrat who is holding his seat in strong favor down in south georgia, and he is a blue dog or sam nunn-type of democrat. it's going to take that to win this state on a state-wide race. the other thing, georgia is becoming progressively brown. that we are having african-american voters controlling much more of the electorate here and we have a growing, growing hispanic population that always tend to vote democrat in this state, on immigration issues, and a mound of others. and while we've yet to see the real policy positions, that will become a very interesting point to me. but what is happening on the other side of the aisle is even more interesting. you've got paul brown who is to the right, to the right, to the right of everybody else, really, in this race, and you've got people trying to catch up with him on issues. if paul brown faces a split primary, with some very strong candidates with national names like tom brown and phil gingrey, he could very well come out of
this primary the leader, a very bruising primary. and i believe that michelle nunn becomes an increasingly available candidate in that situation. >> that paul brown, that is the dream candidate right there. that would be sharron angle of minnesota. thanks, goldie taylor. coming up, there's a new development in the whole alleged he smoked crack scandal we have to tell you about coming up next. check it out. i can't believe your mom has a mom cave! today i have new campbell's chunky spicy chicken quesadilla soup.
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>> thank you very much! >> can you tell us about -- >> what don't you understand? get off the property, partner! get off -- thank you. thank you very much. >> are you the focus of a police drug investigation related to sandra levy, mr. mayor! >> thank you. thank you. >> don't get run over, guys. >> watch out, guys. >> that was embattled toronto mayor rob ford greeting reporters outside his home this morning. the larger than life leader is known as of an alleged videotape that shows him allegedly smoking crack. but now toronto police say the alleged crack tape is real and that they have possession of it. it's just the latest jaw-dropping chapter in an unbelievable political scandal that we on this show can't resist telling you about. >> there's breaking news regarding toronto's embattled mayor, rob fort. >> holy! >> at a news conference earlier,
toronto chief of police, bill blair, says authorities have obtained a video consistent with details given in previous media attempts, but would not confirm the video's contents. >> i can't tell you that the digital video file that we've recovered depicts images that are can i want with those that have previously been reported in the press. i think it's fair to say that the mayor does appear in those -- in that video, but i'm not going to get into the detail of what activities is depicted on that video. >> and blair said the police have not interviewed the mayor, but the video's contents don't support charges against him. the police chief spoke following the release of court documents pertaining to a drug trafficking investigation involving fort's friend and driver, sandra leasy. they searched her possessions and recovered the video. reports from the "toronto star" newspaper and the website gawker says they were shown the video earlier this year. back in may, ford denied the crack-smoking allegations and
the existence of the video. >> there has been a serious accusation, from the "toronto star," that i used crack cocaine. i do not use crack cocaine, nor am i an addict of crack cocaine. as for a video, i cannot comment on a video that i have never seen or does not exist. >> and gawker eventually raised funds to buy the video, but the website says it was unable to reestablish contact with the seller. it donated the to charity inside. today's bombshell from toronto police is the first public confirmation that the video does, in fact, exist. meanwhile, over at toronto city hall, it was a festive day. offices were all decked out for halloween and a gaggle of reporters were on hand, waiting to hear from the mayor and he did not disappoint. >> i think everybody's seen the allegations against me today. i wish i could come out and defend myself. unfortunately, i can't.
because it's before the courts and that's all i can say right now. >> ford, who previously said he will run again when his term expires next year vowed to stay in office. >> i have no reason to resign. i'm going to go back, and return my phone calls, and be out doing what the people elected me to do, and that's save taxpayers' money and run a great government. >> and, of course, you can rest assure that we here at "all in" will continue to monitor this story so we can give you the latest details, which gives us an excuse to keep showing our favorite rob ford footage. >> this has been a breaking news report, featuring toronto mayor rob ford and a moose. >> that's it. >> take off. we will be right back. [ male announcer ] maybe you've already heard what they're saying about the nissan altima.
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>> congratulations senator. welcome to the senate. >> and just like that, today cory booker was sworn in as the first black person elected to the senate since this guy won his seat back in 2004. the only black person in the senate back at that time. booker's swearing in gives the country two african-americans serving in the senate right now. republican tim scott from south carolina is the other one. scott was appointed by governor nikki haley to fill jim demint's old seat. by winning a special election earlier this month, cory booker became just the fourth black person voters have elected to the senate since reconstruction. joining edward brooke in 1996, carol mosley ann, and barack obama in 2004. before them, there was hiram revels, a mississippi state senator who was selected by state lawmakers in 1870 to fill a vacant u.s. senate seat. "the new york times" wrote about his swearing in this way. quote, his demeanor was as dignified as could be expected under the circumstances.
the abuse which had been poured upon him and on his race within the last two days might well have shaken the nerves of any one." as you can imagine, 1870, much of that abuse was blatantly racist. they wrote of a descendant of a orangutan in congress. the first african-american to serve a full senate term was also from mississippi. his name was blanche bruce. and both of these men were elected before the passage of the 17th amendment in 1913, when senators were chosen by state legislatures, rather than by a popular vote. since then, there hasn't been an abundance of african-americans in the senate. cory booker becomes the ninth black senator in all of u.s. history. this is a graphical representation of what that looks like. the teeny, tiny black slice is every black person who's ever served in the united states senate ever.
so why aren't there more black senators why haven't there been more black senators? when we come back, i'll with joined by a few people who will try to help me answer that question, so stay with us. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] eeny, meeny, miny, go. more adventures await in the lexus lx, rx, and new seven-passenger gx. dare to be spontaneous. and neat any minute...r gx. ...you could be a victim of fraud. most people don't even know it. fraud could mean lower credit scores, higher loan rates... ...and maybe not getting the car you want. it's a problem waiting to happen. check your credit score, check your credit report, at experian.com america's number one provider
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joining me now is willie brown, the former democratic mayor of san francisco, hillary shelton with the naacp, and congressman gk butterfield, the first vice chair of the congressional black caucus. mr. mayor, i don't know if we still call you mr. mayor after you left office, but i'm going to call you mr. mayor. i look at some of the statistics we just showed about the number of african-american senators in history.
it strikes me there's a disconnect. if you look at the house, you've got 45 african-american members of the house, about 10% of the house, a little more than 10%. in all of history, as we say, nine black senators. it seems to me there's a problem -- a pipeline problem here, with getting african-americans who are sort of in the political game and in position to move up in the house, they're not getting chances to run for the senate or even for the governorship. what do you think that disconnect is all about? >> well, that disconnect is all about racism, basically, in america, plus the actions of opportunities in various states where the population should be able to be supporting the political parties and the resources have just not been there behind african-american candidates. candidates. >> well, congressman butterfield, i wonder if you can elaborate on that a little bit. because i think you've been in the house now for close to a decade. i wonder what your experience is. because you represent -- and i've noticed this, too, just in covering politics -- it tends to
be sort of the donor class, when you talk to the donor class of the democratic party, and looking at statewide openings, a lot of times they look at candidates from voting districts like yours, districts with heavily african-american populations, and they say, we don't think candidates from these districts can win statewide. they say the districts are too liberal, they're not representative of statewide population, they say in many cases the districts aren't economically prosperous, the candidates don't have a lot of money. have you come up against those attitudes in the state political establishment in north carolina? >> thank you, steve. it is true that i represent a voting rights district in eastern north carolina. the district was created as a result of litigation under the voting rights act of 1965. and so we have african-american members of congress from north carolina, congressman mel watt and myself. but thank you for recognizing congressman cory booker. i was on the senate floor today when senator booker took the oath of office. it was certainly an historic moment and congratulations go out to the people of new jersey. >> and hillary, what would you say, if we're looking at that disconnect that we're talking about, what is the key for, let's say, an african-american politician right now, maybe who is a member of congress, maybe who is a state legislator, who is looking to make that state to the jump state record.
the record at the gubernatorial level is no different than the senatorial level. what needs to change to make those candidates more viable in the eyes of sort of the political establishment? >> well, the opportunity to bring forth their ideas. one of the biggest challenges in times gone by is we didn't have a lot of the new media that we have now. keep bringing your ideas forward and work to make sure they don't prevent you from getting your message out and seeing what the role of government actually is. one of the biggest challenges is we watch democrats versus republicans and versus other, against what the role of government and what the american people expect first of that role, and then secondly, of those that will serve them in these elected offices across the country. >> you know, something else i wonder, if we're sort of going through and living through almost a turning point here. i can think of, when the voting rights act was enacted and when
the majority and minority districts were created and there was a proliferation of african-american representation in the house. i think there were a lot of the members who were elected back then, you think of like charlie rangel from new york, who never thought of trying to move up and never thought of trying to run statewide. they thought, instead, of making their life in the house. i'm going to be here for ten terms, for 20 terms. i'm going to chair a major committee, i'm going to build up a seniority. mayor brown, do you think the ambition now of the new generation, sort of, of african-americans in congress, do you think the ambition now is less inside the institution and more about, hey, i want to become a senator, i want to become a governor, i want to go national? >> absolutely. i think cory booker's success evidences that. there have been other occasions when persons have tried it and harold ford tried it in tennessee. he didn't quite make it. and there will be others who will follow that lead, and they will be doing something other than insider politics. the political parties, however, must embrace the concept in order for that person to win. >> and congressman butterfield,
maybe you can elaborate on that point. the political parties must embrace the concept. how far along do you think the democratic party is -- how far along do you think the republican parties are in embracing that concept? >> well, certainly, democratic party is the party of choice for african-americans. african-americans are not blindly loyal to the democratic party. we support the democratic party because the democratic party has a progressive agenda. but talking about the 1965 voting rights act, that law was enacted, first of all, because of the literacy test. and once we got rid of the literacy test, and african-americans began to register to vote in large numbers. but because of racially polarized voting, african-american candidates had difficulty getting elected. the vote rights act was enforced, and because of that, we now have minority districts and now african-americans are serving in the congress. >> all right. i want to thank former mayor of san francisco, willie brown, hillary shelton from the naacp, and congressman butterfield.
thanks for joining us tonight. that is "all in" for this evening. chris will be back tomorrow. you can catch my show, "up with steve kornacki" at 8:00 a.m. >> it's great to have you on at prime-time. >> thanks to you at home for joining me this hour. happy halloween. as you can see, same costume as last year. middle-aged lesbian pundit in a jacket bought for less than $20 at a mall. trick or treat. this is chris mcdaniel, he is a mississippi state senator of the tea party persuasion. he wants to mount a tea party hard right-wing primary challenge against mississippi's long-serving republican u.s. senator, thad cochran. and chris mcdaniel was the source of a little bit of political embarrassment earlier this month when the news magazine, mother jones, wrote about his history with